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Delaware News

What type of tree should I plant?

What type of tree should I plant?

What type of tree should I plant?

The Freeman ‘Autumn Blaze’ maple is one of our favorite fast-growing fall foliage shade trees.

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People often ask me what kind of tree to plant, and then I start asking questions. How much space do you have? What is the purpose of the tree? Why do you want a tree there? What are the growing conditions?

Why plant one particular tree rather than another? There is a place for every tree and a tree for every place; you just need to refine it based on the conditions you have and the benefits you expect from the tree. Here is our personal “short list” of tree varieties that we most often recommend and plant in the landscapes we design.

Bald Cypress: problem solver for shade in wet areas or beside ponds. Grows quickly to a majestic 60ft and 35ft wide, can grow in standing water or dry sites. Sage green foliage similar to that of Dawn redwood, with minimal leaf litter.

Freeman Maple ‘Autumn Blaze’: This fall foliage maple is a cross between the fast-growing but problematic silver maple and the showy but slow-growing autumn foliage maples like ‘October Glory’. Other Freeman maple hybrids like ‘Marmo’ and ‘Celebration’ also make good shade trees and are just as pretty in the fall. Unlike red maple and sugar maple, Freeman maple trees grow fast enough to provide shade for your lifetime. 50 feet high, 35 wide.

Black Gum (also called Tupelo): Dense, shapely shade tree with glossy foliage and superb fall color. Very sturdy and rustic; medium-sized shade tree perfect for home landscapes, slow growing to fifty feet tall and thirty feet wide.

Pyramidal European Hornbeam: The perfect tree for tight spaces. Dense and upright habit. Small glossy dark green leaves. Drought tolerant, slow growing, compact.

Maidenhair tree (Gingko): The oldest known tree still in existence. Very hardy and hardy, drought tolerant once established. Showy lemon yellow fall color. Slow growing to 30 feet wide, 50 feet tall. This tree has survived since prehistoric times!

Thornless Locust: Ideal tree for filtered shade on paved areas. The fern-like foliage produces pleasant filtered shade. This tree produces few dead leaves, does not drop sap or fruit. “Shademaster” has upward arched limbs for vehicle clearance. ‘Imperial’ and ‘Skyline’, with horizontal umbrella-shaped arms, are our favorites for patios. Drought resistant; tolerates the heat of asphalt paving, so it is popular for shade from street trees or parking lots. Hardwood resists breakage. Without illness. 35′ wide, 50 feet high.

Norway Spruce: The finest spruce in Southern Ohio. Fast growing screen or windbreak tree. Well adapted to clay soils. Quickly grows up to 25′ wide and 50′ tall.

London Planetree: non-fruiting cousin of the American sycamore, native to the banks of a stream. Tolerates clay soils, extremely wet and dry conditions. Beautiful peeling bark, color of the white trunk. Fast growing up to 50-70 feet. Our favorite fast growing shade tree.

Northern Red Oak: Our favorite tree for lining driveways. Limbs arch up for vehicle clearance. Showy fall color. Hardy and trouble-free, grows faster than most oaks, measuring fifty feet tall and wide at maturity.

Willow oak: fast-growing pyramidal shade tree, similar to pine oak, but with narrow oval leaves, so leaf litter is minimal. For this reason, Willow Oak is a popular tree in parks and streets throughout the eastern and southeastern United States. Washington DC’s Capital Mall is lined with majestic Willow Oaks. Quickly grows up to 70 feet tall and 50 feet wide.

So. These are the trees we plant most often and recommend the most. Chances are that one of them is exactly your situation.

Steve Boehme is a landscaper/installer specializing in landscape makeovers. “Let’s Grow” is published weekly; column archives are online at www.goodseedfarm.com. For more information, call GoodSeed Farm Landscapes at (937) 587-7021.


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